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Madrid City Guide

Madrid City Guide: Nuevo Madrid, people are calling it. The city is riding a wave of much-anticipated openings – the arrival of the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, the renovation of the Ritz Hotel by Mandarin Oriental, a host of exciting new restaurants and shops, and the imminent opening of the Museum of the Royal Collections. Located next to the Royal Palace, the museum will house 155,000 works related to the Spanish monarchy and was previously inaccessible to the public.

At the same time, a decade-long urban project is coming along a greenbelt connecting the Plaza de Espaa to the palace complex and the Casa de Campo Park. Formerly a royal hunting estate, the forest space – five times the size of Central Park and just minutes from the city center – became a public park in 1931. Given that Madrid is the sunniest of Europe’s capitals, it is fitting that it now has more green spaces and parks in which to enjoy the rays.

Things to Do

Rent a bike at Rent & Roll Madrid, right in front of Retiro Park. From there, a bike lane leads to the royal complex in the city center, the Madrid Rio Park Trails, the Casa de Campo, and the 40-mile Anillo Verde (Greenbelt) cycling path that rings the city.

Eat

When the crew of one of Madrid’s hottest restaurants opened the lakeside Villa Verbena in Casa de Campo this spring, they dramatically improved the park’s dining options with charcoal-grilled fish and meat dishes.

Bar Manero recently opened near Retiro Park after conquering coastal Alicante, bringing spicy patatas bravas and other classic tapas, and taking Madrid’s signature fried squid sandwich with fresh ginger and lemon to lofty heights.

Chef Roberto Ruiz closed Punto MX (the first Mexican restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star) to open Barracuda MX, serving Pacific Coast Mexican fare next to Retiro Park. Try the grilled octopus with pico de gallo and crunchy yucca, and the sea bass with red and green chile adobos.

Drink

Madrileños spend a great deal of time sitting on terraces with friends over drinks. The seventh-floor Dani brasserie in the new Four Seasons has the most stunning Terrazza in town; Triangulated and full of potted plants, the shady spot is ideal for a late afternoon aperitivo.

For a sense of the expanse of Casa de Campo, take the elevator to the 26th-floor Sky Bar on Plaza de Espaa, which offers unparalleled, 360-degree views of the city.

Shop

Browse the curated choice of Spanish artesanía behind a blue swath of cocoal right in front of the Plaza de la Paja. From traditional sandals and hats to pottery, cutting boards, and linen towels, the selections follow the owner’s belief that everyday items can—and should—be beautiful.

Designer Andrés Gallardo has a growing global reputation for jewelry decorated with handcrafted porcelain figures. Having recently moved with his workshop to a new space near Paseo del Prado, he is often around and will show you his latest collection himself.

Stay

After an ambitious, eight-year-long project that joined seven historic buildings, the 200-room Four Seasons Hotel Madrid with a mix of original art deco curves and contemporary Spanish art opened in autumn 2020 in the city center. Some of the city’s biggest, most stylish rooms await guests, along with dining by Chef Dani Garcia and a 15,600-square-foot spa spread over four floors. Virtuoso travelers receive daily breakfast and $100 hotel credit.

After a major renovation, the city’s most prestigious hotel reopened in April as the 153-room Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid. The project restored the original glass dome that has covered the central Palm Court since 1910, flooding the space with light. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast and a $100 dining credit per day.

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